I chanced to watch a Fox and Friends interview with UK Daily Mail Senior Reporter Nick Fagge who revealed how be bought forged Syrian documents in Southern Turkey for $2,000 in less than four days. For Fagge this was a reprise of a mid-September interview onFox and Friends. It was prompted because of the Syrian passport found at the scene of a suicide bombing at the French soccer stadium last Friday. The passport purportedly belonged to an alleged Syrian refugee who entered the EU via Greece in early October 2015 as an alleged ISIS jihadi who infiltrated the refugee flood from Turkey. Fagge noted that a German security expert who asked to inspect his documents said that the forged identity card and driver’s license were easy to detect because of errors. However, the German expert indicated that the Syrian Passport was an authentic one but clearly forged with Fagge’s new identity. This raised a question about the representations by White House Deputy National Security Director, Ben Rhodes. Speaking from the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, he suggested that Syrian refugees admitted to this country were capable of being ‘thoroughly” vetted. Note this New York Post report:
The Administration is going ahead with its plan to admit thousands of Syrian refugees into the US despite the horrific attack in Paris — where at least one of the attackers is believed to have posed as a Syrian migrant to get into the country.
“We’re still planning to take in Syrian refugees,” White House national Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told “Fox News Sunday.”
Rhodes, who is traveling with President Obama in Turkey, said there would be “very robust vetting” to “sort out that foreign fighter flow.”
Referring to refugees, he said: “They are tragic victims of this conflict. They are women and children and orphans of this war.”
Rhodes said the “careful” vetting would rely on input from “our intelligence community, our national Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we’re carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States.”
He made those statements on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Rhodes’ representations caused immediate pushback from eight Republican governors about halting and funding of Syrian refugees admissions that were announced by President Obama.
We have also seen reported the Assad regime was literally issuing millions of passports to promote the flight of Syrians abroad. Clearly many of those authentic passports have ended up in the hands of forgers and can be purchased by ISIS operatives and families and even non-Syrians.
The Fox and Friends interview with Fagge noted:
Nick Fagge traveled to Turkey to meet with the forger, and paid him $2,000 for the documents.
Fagge reported in September:
The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter’s picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year.
The passport book MailOnline acquired is genuine, made from a batch seized from one of the many Syrian government offices captured by advancing opposition forces.
The forger explained that the militias fighting the forces of Assad make a beeline for government offices when they over-run a town. They know the value of the documents there and steal the passports, papers and even the printers that are used to create identity cards and driving licenses.
Fagge said today that it is “impossible to say” how many fake passports are floating around, adding that he doubts European border officials can put a figure on it either.
He said that the problem isn’t just Syrians coming to Europe, but also Europeans who travel to Syria, become radicalized, and then return to Europe.
Fagge said after his story was published, he met with a forgery expert from the German police force, who wanted to look at the documents he obtained.
The expert explained that it was tricky verifying documents presented by refugees from Syria.
“He said he found this very difficult because he couldn’t compare their documents with a real or a forged one,” said Fagge.
Fagge recalled that the expert could tell the driver’s license and ID card were forgeries, but said the passport looked “genuine.”
“He said, this is a real passport,” Fagge said.
Watch the Fox and Friends reprise interview with UK Daily Mail journalist Fagge
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.